The Art of Self-Discipline Written by Shekinah Ade-Gold on behalf of Budget Leaf
Practice Makes Perfect!
The ability to practice a new skill or habit leads to the development of neural pathways in the brain. Without getting too scientific or technical, research shows that once we repeat an action or a skill, these pathways become more ingrained in our memory process. Simply put, things that used to be difficult to do become easier with time. Think of any activity that you enjoy doing today. Were you born with the knowledge of how to do it? Chances are that this wasn’t the case; you most likely practiced and repeated this activity often until you were comfortable enough to do it without thinking. This is how our brains learn and expand our entire lives.
It Gets Easier With Time
To maintain this kind of behaviour leads to a quality known as ‘discipline’. If you’re really good at something (like driving a car, or playing music) you will know that it took time, effort and focus to get you to your present level of expertise. This is how it is with budgeting and achieving any goals that you have set your mind to. In the beginning, it may seem hard to set money aside and you might be used to spending all that you earn. This, however, does not work to your benefit.
We can look at this in the sense of eating meals every day. When you prepare food, you would (hopefully) tend to pack a plate that’s nutritious and can help your body to stay fit and healthy. Sure, you might get junk food and sweet treats every now and then, but you wouldn’t have ice cream for breakfast, pizza for lunch and cake for dinner every single day. It would seem like a fun diet for the first two or three days, but by the end of the week you’d be sure to feel less than healthy – and this doesn’t take into account the make-up of your body and what these contents would do to you biologically. Even if you felt fine today, you would probably have serious concerns to deal with in a few years.
The Chef’s Recipe
With budgeting, we can prepare nutrition for our finances that will build us up and strengthen our standing. We can see our fruits and vegetables as emergency fund savings; our rice or ground provisions can be seen as our debt repayment allotment. We can add legumes for our housing goals, protein for our education goals, and add tea, water or juice as our savings and investments. The money you spend on yourself can be the cake, pizza or ice cream – understood as a treat and a want, not as a necessary need. The more you like cooking is the more diverse and nutritious your meal will be, and just as this skill is learned and practiced over time, so is the skill of budgeting your money. That is where the discipline lies. Your future self (and your future dependents, if applicable) will thank you for staying financially fit and healthy in future years.